Ponder sweating it out in Minnesota

Vikings QB Christian Ponder is working out in Minnesota this week in anticipation that the NFL lockout is almost over. He spent Monday battling the heat while conditioning and throwing, before looking to finalize an agreement on a new home.

Christian Ponder can't beat the heat. He went from summertime workouts in Florida to joining a few teammates and other NFL players Monday for a workout with the heat index in the triple digits at the University of Minnesota.

Ponder plans to work out with native Minnesotan Larry Fitzgerald and a crew of about three dozen other football players, ranging from a high school kid or two to NFL stars like Fitzgerald.

"It's a relief. I've been stressed out about finally getting up here and getting settled. To finally be up here, it's good," said Ponder. "I'm ready to get things started. Hopefully this lockout ends soon, but who knows?"

The rookie quarterback was in Minnesota last week to start looking for a residence and worked out with linemen Steve Hutchinson, John Sullivan and others, but the conditioning ratcheted up a bit Monday as Ponder joined the workouts organized by Fitzgerald and supervised by fitness guru Bill Welle.

About an hour after the workouts had concluded Monday, weather.com had the temperature listed at 90 degrees with a warning: "Dangerous heat index. Outdoor exposure should be limited."

"It's unbelievable. It feels like Florida, probably a little hotter than Florida, but I guess it's good to get us in shape, getting us ready for the season," Ponder said. "

"[I'm] getting situated and working out with these guys and getting my butt in shape."

Players spent more than an hour running a series of sprints and working with elastic bands as part of their conditioning. After the big grind is over, quarterbacks, receivers and tight ends continue to refine their skills with throwing and catching sessions.

In between the conditioning and throwing sessions, Ponder was planning to leave to finalize an agreement with his housing, but Fitzgerald encouraged him to stay and delay his meeting, saying he can meeting with a real estate agent any time. Ponder obliged and ended up staying about another hour.

It was all part of Ponder's months-long effort to get better and work his way toward a starting job with the Minnesota Vikings despite not being able to work out in front of his coaches because of the NFL lockout.

He said "everyone is being optimistic" that the lockout could end this week, and then it will be on to contract negotiations. However, those likely won't take as long as usual because a rookie wage scale is expected to be part of the new collective bargaining agreement.

"I don't think it will take long. I don't know if there is much room for negotiations anymore after this whole rookie scale is going to be done. But it will get done. It will be done quickly and I want to be ready to go and get in as soon as possible," Ponder said.

"It's not frustrating. From what I've seen, it won't be too bad. I heard 40 percent, but that's still a lot of money. I can deal with it. My goal is always to get this second contract anyway. That's when you make the most money."

For now, all he can do is wait … and work out under the intense heat being generated in Minnesota this week. But getting to work with his new receivers, like Jaymar Johnson and tight end Kyle Rudolph, does have its advantages.

"It's fun," Ponder said. "Kicking my butt, though."


Tim Yotter is the publisher of Viking Update. Follow Viking Update on Twitter and discuss this topic on our message boards. To become a subscriber to the Viking Update web site or magazine, click here.



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About an hour after the workouts had concluded Monday, weather.com had the temperature listed at 90 degrees with a warning: \"Dangerous heat index. Outdoor exposure should be limited.\" \"It's unbelievable. It feels like Florida, probably a little hotter than Florida, but I guess it's good to get us in shape, getting us ready for the season,\" Ponder said. \" \"[I'm] getting situated and working out with these guys and getting my butt in shape.\" Players spent more than an hour running a series of sprints and working with elastic bands as part of their conditioning. After the big grind is over, quarterbacks, receivers and tight ends continue to refine their skills with throwing and catching sessions. In between the conditioning and throwing sessions, Ponder was planning to leave to finalize an agreement with his housing, but Fitzgerald encouraged him to stay and delay his meeting, saying he can meeting with a real estate agent any time. Ponder obliged and ended up staying about another hour. It was all part of Ponder's months-long effort to get better and work his way toward a starting job with the Minnesota Vikings despite not being able to work out in front of his coaches because of the NFL lockout. He said \"everyone is being optimistic\" that the lockout could end this week, and then it will be on to contract negotiations. However, those likely won't take as long as usual because a rookie wage scale is expected to be part of the new collective bargaining agreement. \"I don't think it will take long. I don't know if there is much room for negotiations anymore after this whole rookie scale is going to be done. But it will get done. It will be done quickly and I want to be ready to go and get in as soon as possible,\" Ponder said. \"It's not frustrating. From what I've seen, it won't be too bad. I heard 40 percent, but that's still a lot of money. I can deal with it. 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